Monday, 21 February 2011

Whose idea was it to have Pancake Day so late?

This is a sponsored post. 

I mean, how very dare they? Pancake Day normally falls happily into half term, providing a welcome activity for one of the days where the school run doesn't rule our lives. But this year, Easter is so late, it's not going to be until the day before Monkey's birthday in March for goodness sake. For various reasons, not just the 6th birthday celebrations, that week is going to be slightly manic.

Some of the good ladies were lamenting this late arrival of Pancake Day (and yes, I realise its official name is Shrove Tuesday - I'm just keeping things secular) so had their own unofficial Pancake Day last week. I think this is going to be the plan for us one day this week, with everyone home for half term so I'm going to  dust off my pancake recipe. I think I'll tell the children it's Early Pancake Day.

I prefer to make my own batter. There are tons of recipes out there and I never realised how much they varied. I always mix mine in a jug - so that I can easily pour the batter into a pan rather than having to ladle it. What I do is sift 110g/4oz plain flour into the jug and make a well in the middle, add a pinch of salt (if I remember - ahem), crack in an egg and a splash of milk from 280ml/half a pint of milk. Then I whisk it together to form a smooth cream. After that, I gradually whisk in the rest of the milk. If I'm making thicker pancakes - kind of American style for little hands to hold - I add less milk to get a thicker batter. People say you need to leave the batter to stand but you don't - but sometimes it's easier to get the batter made and put aside so feel free to do so, just rewhisk it before you use it. Other recipes add in a bit of sugar or some melted butter. I don't, but go right ahead if you want to.

Cooking pancakes never totally works first time for me. I have to make a "sacrificial pancake" at first and accept it might be a minor disaster - at least it gives me one spare to eat whilst I am making the rest. Apparently, it's because my pan is not hot enough according to something I read recently, but as my kitchen is almost full of smoke when I make them, I'm a bit dubious about that.

I put my pan on a high heat and put some butter on with some kitchen paper. Once the pan is really hot, I turn it back down to medium or the pancakes burn. I pour in about 2tbsp of batter and swirl it around quickly to cover the surface of the pan. You might need more if your pan is bigger. It only takes half a minute or so to cook to golden. It's generally cooked when you can see bubbles forming. Then I flip it - either with a fish slice, or you can flip the pan if you're feeling brave. It only needs a few more seconds before you slide it out of the pan. If you're making a pile of pancakes first before eating them, rather than eating them all there and then (or is that just me?), store them between sheets of greaseproof paper. Delia recommends keeping the stack on a plate over some simmering water to keep warm and who am I to argue with that?

If you really don't want to make your own batter, you can buy batter mix. Some of them require egg and milk adding (er, that will be flour and salt then?) but Betty Crocker do one called Shake to Make Pancakes where you just add water to the bottle, shake and pour straight into the pan. You can also find tips for making and flipping your pancakes here.

I don't know how good your flipping skills are - mine are rubbish - but I'm betting you're not as good as this. It's flipping amazing (geddit?)



If you are, then tell me and prove it. That's a vlog I'd love to see!

When it comes to toppings, we normally just have lemon and sugar on our pancakes in this house but jam also goes down well with Monkey and Missy Woo. What do you have on yours? Leave me a comment below with your filling or topping ideas - sweet or savoury. I'd like some new ones to try.

Happy Early Pancake Day!

(This is a sponsored post. I have been paid a fee to write a post about pancakes and include the links to the Betty Crocker website and video. I have not been told what to write, all words, opinions and the recipe are my own.)
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